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Poster: Monte B Cowboy Date: Aug 12, 2013 9:47am
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: What It’s Like to Tell NSA and DEA 'blow me!!'

what's Fort Collins Police Chief John Hutto up to?
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Fort Collins police encrypt their public radio broadcast on March 27, 2013

Fort Collins Police Services is encrypting all routine radio traffic so the public can’t listen in with smartphone apps or scanners!

Through an agreement with police, the Coloradoan will have continued access to the main dispatch channel in order to continue to report on city police activity.

Police Chief John Hutto said the decision to take most emergency traffic off the public airwaves was made to improve officer safety and to prevent exposure of citizens’ private information.

Police are on a weekly basis arriving on scenes to find out people — often suspects — have known they were coming because they were listening to smartphone apps, and Hutto said he’s not waiting for an officer to get hurt before making the change.

Lindsay Blanton III, CEO of RadioReference.com, the largest website to transmit public radio waves, said agencies across the country in such metro areas as New York and Los Angeles don’t encrypt routine operations, only tactical SWAT and narcotics channels.

“The chief is definitely taking a hard-line stance against allowing the general public to monitor routine communications,” Blanton said in an e-mail.

Only Fort Collins police Channel 4, used for coordinating with other agencies during special events, will remain open to the public. The Coloradoan by next week will receive a loaned radio for $100 with access to FCPS’ main channel for dispatching and coordinating calls.

Other channels for data, car-to-car communications and tactical operations will be limited to police. Multiple discussions the past several months led to the agreement between the Coloradoan and police.

Hutto said he understands concerns for police transparency. A document to outline more details of the agreement is pending.

The encryption takes effect at 7 a.m. Tuesday, and the technology results from the purchase of a $1.7 million Motorola APX 6000 radio system that FCPS saved for during the past decade.

Meanwhile, other area emergency responders aren’t poised to encrypt radio transmissions. Poudre Valley EMS uses scanners to listen to police traffic like anyone else in the public, and they’ve sometimes been patched into police channels for events in which they cooperate. But encryption will end that, said EMS spokesman Wyandt Holmes.

Poudre Valley EMS will have to buy special radios for its tactical EMS team to communicate with police. Street crews will have to rely on computer-aided dispatch terminals for police information, as they won’t have access to routine police radio traffic, he said.

Hutto said he expects most law-enforcement radio transmissions will be encrypted within the next five years.

Blanton disagrees. He said many agencies “value open access” and would never encrypt routine operations.

read story reported by Robert Allen in The Coloradoan